Recent Change-River Flow

Jaap Kwadijk*, Nigel W. Arnell*, Christoph Mudersbach, Mark de Weerd, Aart Kroon, Markus Quante

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

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This chapter reviews recent trends and variability in river flows to the North Sea. The main contributors are the River Elbe and the River Rhine. In addition to these large rivers many smaller rivers also discharge into the North Sea. However, by far the biggest contributor is the Baltic Sea outflow. Observation records for the major rivers draining into the North Sea are relatively long, while records for the smaller rivers are typically much shorter. Variability in flow is dependent on variations in weather—mainly precipitation and temperature—from year to year, but also on a wide range of direct and indirect human interventions in the North Sea basin. Rivers draining into the North Sea show considerable interannual and decadal variability in annual discharge. In northern areas this is closely associated with variation in the North Atlantic Oscillation, particularly in winter. Discharge to the North Sea in winter appears to be increasing, but there is little evidence of a widespread trend in summer inflow. Higher winter temperatures appear to have led to higher winter flows, as winter precipitation increasingly falls as rain rather than snow. To date, no significant trends in response to climate change are apparent for most of the individual rivers discharging into the North Sea.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNorth Sea Region Climate Change Assessment
EditorsMarkus Quante, Franciscus Colijn
Place of PublicationCham
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-39745-0
ISBN (Print) 978-3-319-39743-6, 978-3-319-81954-9
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NameRegional Climate Studies (REGCLIMATE)
ISSN (Print)1862-0248
ISSN (Electronic)1865-505X


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